Prague astronomical clock

The Prague astronomical clock

Legends have always spread, no matter if true or false. The Old Town Astronomical Clock is not an exception – you will find many similar legends related to this place. Whether they are based on reality or not we will leave up to you to decide. Let´s reveal the mystery of the Prague Astronomical Clock together.

Legend of Master Hanuš

The Old Town Astronomical Clock has often been inciting emotions in people – positive or negative. Based on them legends have come into existence. The most familiar legend is related to Master Hanuš, one of the most significant clock-makers. This legend does not acknowledge Mikuláš of Kadaň as the author of Orloj but namely Master Hanuš.

Based on the legend, Master Hanuš was chosen by the councilors of Prague to construct a unique time measuring device at Staroměstská Radnice that would have many other functions besides measuring time. Hanuš did what was asked of him. After he had introduced his perfect machine to the councilors they became worried. They wanted the machine to remain unique and they were concerned that the clock-maker could make a similar machine for another town. So they thought about how to get rid of him. One night a group of people broke into the master´s house and they blinded him with a piece of iron. Hanuš knew very well who was behind that and therefore he asked one of his pupils to accompany him to the very heart of the astronomical clock. The pupil did what he was told and Hanuš, despite his blindness, stopped the clock from working. Based on the legend it took more than a century before the astronomical clock was in operation again.

Legend of the skeleton

Skeleton statue on the Prague clock

Numerous legends are also related to the figure of the skeleton which is mounted on the astronomical clock. It was said, that once the Old Town Astronomical Clock stops running for a long time the Czech nation will suffer bad times and the skeleton was supposed to confirm this fact by nodding his head. Based on the legend, the only hope was represented by a boy born on New Year´s night.

Once the astronomical clock sets in motion again, the boy is supposed to run out of the Týn Church across the square to the town hall. He has to run very fast to arrive before the last strike of the clock. If he makes it he will quit the skeleton´s evil power and avert all the evil.

A sign of hope

However, in some legends the skeleton was a sign of hope. If you take a careful look you will see two little windows above the astronomical clock. Those used to lead to the jail which was used for imprisoning the aristocrats. One day a knight was imprisoned there waiting for his execution. He was looking out of the window and just when the clock started to strike, a sparrow flew onto the skeleton. When the skeleton closed his jaws he imprisoned the little bird inside. The sparrow had to wait another hour until the skeleton opened his teeth again to be able to fly away. When the knight saw that he started to believe he would get out of his jail, too. And guess what happened! The people of Prague pardoned him at last. This way the skeleton became the symbol of hope.

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Article credit to Prague City Line.

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